tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC December 14, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST
police have recovered two handguns. there are no reports of injured children. there are reports, however, of three individuals from the school at a nearby danbury hospital. the scene unfolded earlier today when a 911 call came in at 9:41 a.m. and then at 9:57 a.m. there was a reverse 911 call to homes of the students informing them that there was an incident at their school. parents are currently being reunited with their children. police are on the ground missed the school searching room to room. connecticut state police have scheduled a news conference for 1:00 eastern. joining us on the phone, msnbc analyst and former fbi profiler clint van zandt. clint, give us your read, your assessment, on this situation? >> well, we know that the shooter is dead. we don't know whether that is by law enforcement action when the first responding officers went in and confronted him or whether, as we saw in the portland, oregon, mall shooting this past week, whether the shooter actually shot himself committing suicide. we know that at least two handguns were found. you know, that takes us back to
april 2007 when the shooter at virginia tech, in that case, who killed 32 and wounded 15, also had two handguns. what it does suggest, though, is that this individual went in there with carrying two handguns and perhaps other ammunition. he went in there apparently to confront someone. we're told that confrontation took place in the office of the school and may have spilled out from there. we're still trying to understand the number of victims and the level of injury. >> clint, you know, when we talk about these shootings, first off, they are mentioning that it's happening with a frequency that is absolutely horrifying in temz of the fact that this is something that seems to be recurring, an actual nightmare that keeps happening. in terms of the ages of the students here, this -- up until now most of these shootings have happened on college campuses. a few have happened at high schools. the fact that this took place at an elementary school, what is your read on that? >> this is a new low, unfortunately, for us. now, we've seen this take place
overseas. weave seen it in asia. i recall one situation, i think, was in japan where an individual went in with a knife and stabbed a number of children around this tender age too, but you normally don't see this, but we do see, unfortunately, about 20 mass shooting incidents which may well turn out to be. we'll see an average of 20 of these per year, and, unfortunately, that number doesn't go down, and at least this year it appears that it's gone up. >> clint, wnbc is reporting that there may be more bodies in the elementary school. essential this is an unfolding tragedy. i want to bring in our panel here, and also joining us on the phone -- sorry. joining me today in set in new york city, the golden strip, michael eric dyson, host of nbc, melissa harris perry from the nation, and ari melbourne, columnist for the washington post and msnbc contributor
jonathan capehart. this is, unfortunately, something that is tha has happened a number of times this year. an ongoing national nightmare, these shootings that take place. i guess my first question is an unfolding situation. certainly we are getting more details there. there may be more bodies in the school. we don't know yet. melissa, i go to you first as a mother when you hear about this, and, you know, the ages of these children here. we're talking about an elementary school. it is a moment, obviously, for self-reflection, but also a sense that when is enough going to be enough in terms of violence in this country? >> we have to be careful because this is an unfolding event. we don't know what all the stories are, but essential as a parent -- but not just as a parent. for every one of us who sends, you know, our mom off for the day or our spouse off or our kids, you know, this idea that we live in such a contingent environment where at any point, you know, your child might be
shot at a gas station or might be a victim of violence in a school, that is about the availability of guns, so let's just be really clear. you know, we live in a world where bad things happen in a ton of different ways. in the american context, the idea that someone you love or yourself could be the victim of gun violence, particularly if it's random gun violence, is because of the availability of handguns in this country, and it's hard to imagine being about any other thing. >> also, there's the question -- michael eric dyson, we talked about institutional failure in a political context, but here you have schools, right, which are in and of themselves supposed to be a sacred place, that have become places where the students are victims effectively, and what does that do to essentially -- of national confidence? what does that do to a sense a sort of despair in the american -- in american society? >> well, the national psyche is bombarded by these kind of elements. melissa has already indicated, the arbitrary random character of that violence points to the fact that the ecology of
violence in this culture breeds this kind of random assault upon the targets that are available when somebody gets pissed off, mad at work, but schoolchildren, especially, even more you think about synagogues, churches, and temples, which have been the victim where we've seen victims mowed down, but the school is the national, if you will, altar of our collective civic consciousness. everybody doesn't go to church. everybody goes to school, or mostly everybody does. this is where our national vult meets the widest possible population of americans, and it does say that we feel out of control. we don't know how to control it. we talk about it, but we can do some things. that is, talk about gun violence. talk about the ready accessibility to those guns and how those guns are distributed, how it's easier to get a gun license than it is to vote. that's the reality of america, and we have to be honest about it. >> your assessment in the situation when you first heard about it, in terms of both the political side, the gun control question, the institutional
side, the failure of an american sort of system in terms of protecting its own from a legal perspective. there are also a number of different sort of ramifications for this. >> what we do know is it's a tragedy, as you are reporting. we don't know a lot yet about what happened. mr. dyson was talking about what it means when we have our schools attacked and people in our schools, our students, our children, it's obviously incredibly stressful and traumatic, and we have seen that in school shootings that we've had repeatedly. not speaking specifically to this incident because we don't know enough, but speaking more broadly, we do know that we have a lot of rules about keeping guns out of schools and gun-free zones. we know that we have mass incarceration because we have more people many prison than any other nation. what we don't have from a policy perspective, speaking broadly, is a lot of restrictions on the access points to the weapons themselves. i think you can say that as an
observation about where the policy balance is without necessarily going further into what people worry about, which is, well, is that political? does that mean there's only one thing to do? no. there's more than one way to look at this from a policy perspective. there's no doubt that the access to the weapons is a part of the policy puzzle here, and if we're going to take it seriously, we have to look at that as well as the other issues, the mental health issues, the incarceration issues, and whether we are doing all that we can so that when we look up at a tragedy like this, we know that we've taken the policy steps that are possible. >> jonathan, you live in washington d.c., and i grew up in washington d.c., and i remember actually going to d.c. public school system. i was in the d.c.p.s. for my entire life up until graduation, and i remember there was in the 1990s there was a lot of violence in the city, and there were metal detectors many schools, and it was optically an unpalettable thing. you are sending high school students through metal
detectors. it was an open acknowledgment that schools were a place of violence. the fact that this is happening at an elementary school, i think, it takes that to another level in terms of where we have come as a society. >> right. this gets to what i was going to say. this is not the first school shooting that we've had to endure. think about columbine and the school shootings here in new york city and washington d.c., in chicago. places all over the country. it was students. people prone to students in the student body. this is a high school. this is an elementary school. this is apparently clearly someone from the outside coming in last night elementary school must be that, and this is what's so chilling about what's happening here today in connecticut. >> clint, i want to go to you before we have to go to break,
but in terms of the reverse 911 call, do you have any details on how that happened, that we know that the first 911 call was made at about 9:40, 9:41. the school then seemed to alert students who might still be home or were not yet at school or their parents about what was happening. do we have any more details on that? >> no. you know, that's been a very -- that's been a very good system for the schools, for colleges to be able for parents to subscribe to that service to let everyone know. in america we have about 285 million guns, so the gun problem that's not going away, but today in china a man with a knife stabbed 22 children and a teacher in an elementary school in china today, so this is -- the gun violence may be unique to america as far as acting out on our schools, but violence
against children, against schools, again, 22 children stabbed in china today. in 2010 28 children and two teachers were stabbed in china, so this level of violence, both in china situations were in elementary schools. we have to deal with the overall concept of violence because it can, obviously, be done with handguns, as we saw today with knives as china was today. >> clint making a very important point that this is not simply about guns and gun control, but a cull toor of violence that is, unfortunately, international. we are expecting a news conference from connecticut state police at 1:00 p.m. eastern. we will bring that to you live ahead, but, first, we are going to get a live update from wnbc's jonathan dietz, more breaking news after the break. [ sniffs ] i have a cold.
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welcome back. we have the latest -- we have some updates on the shooting at sandy hook elementary in newtown, connecticut. we are first going to go to jonathan dietz. we are sorry. we are -- we have clint van zandt, an fbi profiler and criminal expert on the phone. clint, for some more updates on this, do we have anything else to report? there was wnbc unconfirmed report about more bodies that has since been retracted. is there anything else many terms of by way of details on this? there is one person apparently dead. he may or may not have been the unarmed shooter. do you have anything more you can share with us? >> number one, i always appreciate the caution that msnbc uses to not report things until they're actually fact. the newspapers in that area are reporting that at least one teacher was shot m foot and that there may well have been other
injuries sustained likely by students. to the extent we don't know yet, we do know from the mayor in the local area that at least three people have been rushed to the local hospital. he also made reference that he couldn't get names or conditions until the next of kin were located. when we hear terminology like that, that makes us think the very worst, but, again, we'll hold off until we know for sure. >> thank you, clint. our own chris jansing is standing by with some new information. chris, could you give us an update? >> what we do know from pete williams, and you reported this earlier, that there were some reports, and he got this from a federal official that, some children had been shot, but we are getting descriptions from people on the scene that are as horrifying as you could possibly imagine of doors being, you know, kicked down and federal officials as well as local officials going in with their guns drawn. obviously, trying to secure the situation. there were also reports that at least part of the shooting took place in a kindergarten
classroom, so we're talking about 5-year-old kids who are facing such a horrific situation and, finally, we will tell you that governor malloy is being updated both by state police and by federal officials, but an absolutely horrendous scene being described as some of these early reports are coming in from people who are in there, alex. >> chris, in terms of this, we've been talking a little bit about this reverse 911 call, which makes it sound like some students were not at school yet or the school was trying to take every measure possible to insure that parents were informed as to the situation, which seems to be a very quick response on their end in terms of getting the information out there and trying to calm understandably very concerned parents. >> this is something that technology has done that is tremendously helpful in situations like this, that they have this reverse 911 situation set up because, obviously, previously, and i remember this from having covered the columbine shooting very extensively, a lot of the information would come out at
that point anecdotally that parents calling parents and even more chaos could enshoe because people don't know what's going on. at least the initial bit of information that gets out there to parents is information that the school is rabl to control isible to get people there who they want there, where they want them to come, so it gives at least officials on the scene not only more control of the situation, but it also allows them to control some of the chaos, and in a situation like this, which, again, as we were talking to clint earlier, alex, we have not seen here but in other countries where you have a shooting like this at an elementary school, obviously, you want to get parents there because this is so traumatic for such young kids that they're able to control the situation, get the kids reunited with their parents, and at least help them to calm down a little bit and on both sides, on both the parent and the teachers -- rather, the
parent and the children side. this is one instance where this technology, reverse 911, helps everybody involved in a situation that is so horrific. >> you are a professor, and the thing we haven't talked about this, the other piece of this dynamic, there's obviously the law enforcement, the parents, the children, the teachers who were in the classroom, so who, you know, in terms of the role they represent in the lives of students, and in the situation like this, we certainly don't know any of the details, but one can assume a teacher in that position seeing someone with a gun coming in to do harm to a school, i can only imagine how a teacher sort of deals with that, and many of these cases, people end up being heroes and play a pivotal role. we get more details, and the role that the teachers in this elementary school played, especially with children that young. >> there's no question about that.
because they are so young, you feel an even greater obligation to try to protect these vulnerable children. let's talk about what the real deal here is. when we see something like this, we're talking about an act. let's be careful here. i mean, the technical definition of terror. this is something where we recognize no noncombatants. gu into a school, and everybody is vulnerable. we're not talking about ethnicity here or -- we're talking about ink baiting at the heart of american culture is an addiction to violence that renders us all victims on any given day of random acts of being pushed in front of a subway, of being shot in an elementary school, and the authority figure of the teacher, the psychic scar on a child is even doubled. not not just are you being -- the teacher is being attacked as well. that destroys the psychic infrastructure of a child for how many years to believe that
no one can actually protect them? >> melissa, you are a professor as well, so i'm sure you have thoughts on this. >> yes. i guess part of what i was thinking is that point was so well taken. both chris's story about the trauma that you undoubtedly see as a result of this, no matter what ensdz up being true about injuries to children, physical injuries, the trauma that the young people are going to experience is extreme, that this community is going to experience, but i want to pause because what an opportunity like this is, as horrifying as this moment is, is to remind us that there are children living in cities where they are experiencing this kind of trauma on a regular basis, and you talk about it briefly when you were talking about guns and growing up in washington d.c., living in new orleans my daughter goes to chicago in the summers. the fact is that that sense of vulnerability and violence and the post traumatic stress that it generates for young people, who live in these conditions, so we're going to see it in this hyper-focused, horrible moment of this tragedy, but the fact is that we are seeing it for a whole generation of people all across this country.
>> a very fair and well made point. w nbc is reporting that an fbi spokesman in connecticut says fbi agents are on the scene offering assistance and support to state and local authorities. the fbi is defefring all comments about the incident and investigation to local authorities. we are also getting word of two news conferences within the hour. one from the danbury hospital and one center state police. we will have more information after the break. even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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scheduled a news conference for 1:00 eastern. we are getting record of two news conferences within the hour. one from the danbury hospital and one from state police. wnbc's jonathan dietz joins us now. what is the latest? >> well, the latest is that at least one gunman is dead. there are some unconfirmed reports that there may, may have been, a second suspect, and that is why there is this enormous lockdown in and around the neighborhood. that, again, is unconfirmed. there were some reports about a van being found a few blocks from the scene, and that was being checked out. what we do know is that one gunman is dead, and that two .9 millimeter handguns were found at the school near him and it is unclear if he took his own life or if he was taken out by the responding police. newtown police, connecticut state police, the fbi, atf, among the many agencies responding to this scene, and we are told from hospital officials that at least three people have
been transported there. they are not saying if they are adults or children, and police are not saying whether there are victims missed that school at this hour. the 911 calls began flooding in to police about a shooting both in and around the school campus there, and there was a massive response. not only is there a lockdown at that school, but there are a lockdown in place at all community schools and the community has a precaution. there is some concern, some connecticut newspapers are reporting that at least one if not several children are victims. we do not have that information. we are waiting this news conference to get some numbers. we have spoken to a couple of law enforcement officials who are voicing concern that this shooting is worse than the information that we have at this time.
the information we do know is that two guns were recovered. at least three victims were transported to a area hospital, and that police, fbi, attf all on scene at that school going room to room searching everywhere for anyone who may still be inside and to make sure that things are secure. also, there is a scene in and around the area of the school as police search as a possibility if there was a second gunman, but, again, there is no confirmation to that, so, again, one gunman dead. at least three injured, and the question now is the casualty toll going to rise from here? unclear. as of now gunman dead, three injured. that's the best we know right now. there is some reports that at least one child, if not more, have been injured. that's m connecticut post and the hartford current newspapers. back to you. >> jonathan, we hear that governor malloy is on his way to the scene.
do we have any sort of -- do we have any sense of how these events unfolded? we know that the first 911 call was about 9:45 this morning. was there any sense of how things -- you know, the series of events that led to that 911 call? >> there is some reporting from the parents that are coming out. again, they're rushing to the school to find their children and the children were escorted out by police and teachers to a secure area where anyone who is not injured and children were reunited with their parents. some of the parents have told reporters -- it appeared the principal and others in the school may have been the target. again, police are not confirming this information. the only word really what three hours into the shooting incident, so they're still trying to piece all this information together and, remember, sometimes the initial reports are wrong coming out of a chaotic scene like this. if you are asking what led to this, perhaps the principal and
other administrators may have been the initial target of this. unclear. that is from parents at the scene. that is not from law enforcement. take that with a grain of salt as police prepare for a news conference. >> our own chris jansing with new information. chris, what's the latest that you have? >> we are being told that governor malloy is coming to the scene, so obviously as they do in situations like this, they are mobilizing counselors for the students that survived this tragedy. to melissa perry harris's point this year in two circumstances i was reminded about how much these things linger in communities. if you recall the shooting in february in charton, ohio, where three students at a high school were shot and killed. i was back there because that's near my hometown about a month later. there was a memorial in the town
square there. people were still bringing flowers. there was a lot of emotion, and the sense of security that people have in that rural community had been shattered. in that situation the weeks that have passed have not changed that at all, but maybe even more vividly when i was in aurora, colorado, for the shooting there where 12 people were killed in the movie theater that's very near columbine. another story that i covered. it was amazing to me how many of the young people there grew up with those stories. how shaken they still were, obviously, about the closeness of what had happened. some of them told me, you know, you have a sense, well, it happened at columbine, so it's almost like we're safe here, and how vivid the memories were for the people who had lived through columbine because we interviewed a number of those as well, so i think, alex, to the point that we often look at the numbers. we look at three people who are killed in chardon or 12 people killed in aurora, and there will be a number assigned to this
shooting as well that the breadth of the bakt is so much broader than that, alex. s. >> a very good point when we talk about this being a moment of national tragedy. it's also a moment of national trauma many terms of how we recover from these things and what it does to a community. certainly, i mean, when it -- i remember columbine specifically because i was close to that age and i remember thinking, you know, it's the self-identification thing, and certainly with a community where you never expect something like this to happen and it's laid at your doorstep in such a way, it's not just the children at that school, it's children at other schools in the area who not convince dentally are on lockdown. >> right. that's the psychological impact. we talk about what children can process and then what that does to the order and the safety of the people generally taking for granted if you are in a relatively safe community. you know, i went to a school where we had a shooting of a student who shot two other students during school hours. i was about 15 years old. we never got over that. you saw kids getting shot.
no one was actually murdered in that case. both people who were shot lived. having lived through that in my own personal experience, you don't get over. it's not something that simply because it moves forward and in many that case the justice process did move forward. the person who was a minor was caught and tried and served time and was ultimately let out. if you go back, that was garfield high school in seattle. you go back to that community we're talking over ten years later, everyone remembers it, and that's unfortunately what we see in this community is this is something everyone is going to live with for a long time. >> jonathan, do you have an update for us? what are you hearing, jonathan? i know this is a fluid situation, and it's rapidly unfolding. >> well, it could provide some calm for some of the parents of newtown because we just got this e-mail from the newtown public schools. it was forwarded to us from a parent i know in the town there. i'll just read it to you. the loukdown has been lifted for newtown public schools. your children will be coming home on their normal bus run
today. that e-mail just went out to parents in newtown who have children in the high schools, middle schools, the other schools in the area, so what that suggests is whatever situation has been going on there that police now believe they have it under control. again, what we've been told is one gunman is dead at that elementary school with two weapons recovered, and we're still waiting for an accurate casualty count as to what went on inside that school, but if this e-mail from this parent in the newtown public schools suggests anything, it's that the police now confident that the situation is under control and that children in the school districts, they will be able to go home on the normal bus routes back to their families after the tragedy at that one elementary school. >> that is certainly some welcome news. we are also continuing to monitor news from our affiliate wvit in connecticut, and awaiting two news conferences one from the danbury hospital and another one from state police. we're back with more breaking news coming up next. we've all had those moments.
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we are just getting new information in from nbc's pete williams. he reports that two officials, federal and state, say initial reports indicate many children at the school were shot. perhaps at least 20. chris jansing is standing by, but, first, let's go take a listen to the press conference happening now. >> we offer our heart felt sympathies to all those who have been affected by this tragic shooting. we have received three victims of that shooting. we are actively providing care and support to all those who have come here. the e.p.a. is currently under lockdown, and the reason for that is really out of an abundance of caution. we want to be sure that we allow the e.d. team to focus on the work at hand. there will be -- i'm told that there will be a press conference
at 1:00 from the state police out in newtown, and to the extent that there is further information, we would offer them as a resource for additional details. i would like to have pat roderick and chairman of the emergency department speak to you briefly about this morning. >> thank you. >> first of all, we would like to send our prayers and thoughts to the family members of those that have been affected by the terrible tragedy at sandy hook elementary school. that's our primary concern for the family's well being. we did receive three patients in transport via em san francisco after this shooting. all of those patients have been evaluated and managed by our trauma service. we had received some prenotification, so we had our teams on stand-by and we're ready to care for those patients. in deference to the needs and the respect of the privacy of the family and those patients, i
cannot disclose any patient-specific information at this time. once we have gone through the proper discussions with the family, we will be able to give you further information through our state command center at the local command center in sandy hook. at this point many time as dr. murphy mentioned, due to cautious and control of the environment, we have put the hospital emergency department on a lockdown status, so only those critical people that need to be in the department will be there. we continue to care for those patients in the emergency department unreemtd to this incident, so this is not affecting patient care or had an impact in any negative way. we have many staff members who live in the sandy hook area who have been impacted by this. we have set up crisis services that we have mobilized to the sandy hook firehouse to be of assistance, but we have been in communication with ems command center on the scene,
commissioner of health, state medical examiner's office, so we have been in constant communication with those at the scene and have been letting all the support that we can. at this point in time as i mentioned, out of respect for families and patients well, can't disclose any specific patient information, but that will be made available when available. >> can you tell us generally, did you receive adults, children, the general -- are these injuries critical? i mean, what can you share with us? >> we received three patients as a result of the shooting. i can't give you any more specific information than that until we've had discussions with family, et cetera. >> can you describe the situation in the emergency room as these people started to arrive? obviously, you are prepared for emergencies for situations such as this -- >> as you might expect, we are prepared for any emergency that could happen. we have an abundance of staff
available. we went into immediate lockdown. we cleared four of our trauma rooms to be able to take care and in communication with the prehospital care providers. we were ready and waiting. we had a team -- teams assembled in the room for when the patients arrived so they could get the maximum medical and surgical care that they needed. >> can you tell us how many patients you've treated here? >> we have only treated three parents here that we have received in transport from the scene. >> are you aware of there being other people shot? >> we don't anticipate that there will be any more patients transported to the hospital at this time. the state police have been managing the dissemination of information from the school there. we have received some additional information, but at this point in time i'm not in a position to disclose that. >> do you have any information on the fact that more than two dozen people were shot and killed at the school? >> i can't verify that manufacturings. >> and that 14 were children? >> i cannot verify that information. i'm going to, again, refer you
to the state police who have taken charge of the situation there given the gravity and the impact on that community. >> and as you said, they will be giving a press conference. we've been led to believe that they will be giving a press conference at 1:00 p.m. and will have the latest facts and figures and updates, and we would suggest that that be the resource for any further detailed information. >> thank you very much, and i would just ask that you all pray for the families and the victims of this terrible tragedy. >> why is it that you are on lockdown? >> precautionary. >> just to control the flow of people that are concerned about the well being of the staff and their family. just to really protect the confidentiality of the patients, to allow the staff to do their work uninterrupted. thank you. >> thank you. >> you were listening to a live -- >> that was a news conference committee hospital in danbury, connecticut. we are just getting word from a white house official, president
obama was notified about the shooting at 10:30 a.m. and he continues to receive updates. we're going to take a listen to jay carney at the press conference now. >> information becomes available about this incident, and as the day proceeds, if we get more information and as we get more information, we'll certainly provide it to you. i do not have anything to confirm for you at this point. the fbi is supporting state law enforcement, which has the lead as well as local law enforcement as they respond to and begin to investigate this incident. as i said, the president will receive regular updates as the day progresses. take your questions. >> one follow on that. can you relay to us the president's reaction or thoughts? obviously, the shootings are all of them are tragic. we're hearing some heinous numbers, and the fact that children were involved in this. >> i would rather not relay
reactions at this point because i don't have any confirmation to give to you about what exactly has happened there or potential victims, so at this point i would rather just inform you that the president has been informed about the shooting, was informed at 10:30 and is being given regular updates as more information becomes available. >> any thoughts on whether we'll hear from him today? >> you know, we'll just have to keep you updated as more information becomes available. >> two other topics. in the abc news interview the president was asked about the legalization of marijuana in a couple of states where voters have sounded off on that and essentially said that -- >> that was white house press secretary jay carney giving the latest update from the white house on the shooting in newtown, connecticut. chris jansing is standing by with more information. chris. >> i think it's useful at this point, alex, thank you, to just
update people on what we know because in these situations it is so chaotic, and there are so many conflicting reports out there. let me tell you what nbc news has been able to confirm. there was this shooting this morning at sandy hook elementary. in newtown, connecticut, about a half hour outside new york city. the shooter has been killed. we know a number of other people were injured. we just heard the update from a hospital. that is a level three trauma center there. according to the folks at danbury hospital, they've received three patients. we don't know their conditions. state, local, and fbi all investigating this, all on the scene. the entire area schools had been on lockdown as well as the hospital just over an abundance of caution, but this obviously a disturbing new report that we are getting from pete williams based on conversations with both federal and state officials that as many as perhaps 20 children at that school have been shot, and we are just 15 minutes away
from an update. we are expecting that news conference, alex, and they we may get more information, but we do know that there have been multiple injuries and that the shooter has been killed. alex. >> chris, thanks for the update. jonathan, i have a list, a horrible list, of the deadliest u.s. school shootings. columbine, of course, killed 12 students before the two shooters took their own lives. we're hearing reports now that up to 20 children may have been shot. it is hopefully -- we say this every single time we cover one of these things, a line in the sand. there has got to be a measurable xhank, some kind of reaction. one would hope that there will be some political capital to report in the way we handle gun and gun violence in this country. >> what's so traumatizing, beyond the trauma that we're already experiencing is the fact that we're talking about the possibility of multiple children dead. not high school students. want college students. not pedestrians on the street. grown adults.
we're talking about children who went to school today, you know, starry-eyed, going to school with all the hope and joy that comes with that. especially in this holiday season and to now learn that a gunman went into that school. someone from the outside. i mean, just we don't know who this gunman is. we don't know if this gunman had a relationship or some kind of connection to that school, but the idea that someone came in from the outside into that same space and not just shot adults, but shot children, i think, if that doesn't sear the consciousness of political leaders from the president on down, i don't know what will. >> also i think there will be as a patient he, you know, we keep coming back to the parent question. you know, it's one thing to send your high schooler off to school. there's an assumption that they are sort of able to act in a more independent fashion. for these children who are in third and fourth and fifth grade to be -- to, a, bear witness and to be victims of this.
i mean, i think the parental outcry from a moment like this has to be almost deafening. >> i think we won't know what the outcry will be until we know more about the facts of the case. undoubtedly, it is the great fear of any parent at any point -- from the very first day that you do that drop-off, that's part of what those tears are, right, is that sense that now this is an independent person walking around in the world, and you are not looking at them at every moment. what i would caution -- i think it's part of the lesson learned as parents and that we have to learn also as a country visa vi our children, is that we cannot make them safe at all times, and so we have to be careful about the reaction being let's build a moat and a wall and a metal detector around our whole world. we can change the structural realities that make them safer because there would be fewer available guns and less guns. i think what worries me is that in a moment like this we think
draw the children to you, make them -- make your individual child as safe as possible, and -- >> which is a natural reaction. >> certainly. which is a completely natural reaction, but i think we have to -- it's part of our we can't lead exclusively with our heart. you must also lead with our heads as we start thinking about reasonable reactions to this. >> we are getting some new information from nbc news, pete williams and msnbc's richard lui. we will go to them live coming up next. [ man ] ring ring... progresso this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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number is undoubtedly going to change as we go through the next few hours here as the authorities in connecticut finish going through the school, but this is appearing -- this looks like it's going to be the worst school shooting in recent u.s. history. we have been told that the number of shooting victims is around 20. that's children and adults. there are indication that is it's going to be higher than that. we just don't have a firm number at this point, but i think the point is that there are a number of children that were shot, a number that were apparently killed. this will be the worst school shooting here perhaps in u.s. history. >> thanks for the update. pete, i want to go now to a local reporter on the scene who has some updates for us. liz, can you tell us what you have learned? this is obviously a fluid situation. if you could give us the latest.
>> good morning. i can tell you the latest now is that governor malloy has just arrived on scene and is getting briefed right now by emergency officials inside of the sandy hook fire department. he just walked a little bit closer up to the school, but this is the staging area that has been set up all morning. i want to walk you through what happened here around 9:30 this morning. the children were inside their classrooms for morning announcements when they heard those gunshots being fired. the teachers knew exactly what to do. they locked the doors, sent the children to the corners of the rooms. once this scene was secure, they were all brought down here to the sandy hook fire department and this is where parents had been reuniting with their children all morning. we were one of the first crews here on the scene. it was chaotic. parents running down to try to get to their kids as fast as they could, but, you know, trying to keep as much order as possible. now, we're noticing that
starting to thin out this scene, it might not look like it from this vantage point, but not a lot of children or parents here at this hour. mostly just emergency officials. we see the fbi, state police, as well as local departments coming in and out of that fire department briefing the governor. we're expecting to learn a lot more about what led up to this shooting. the question parents want to know, how did this shooter get inside the school? is he somehow connected to the school? those are all things parents arementing to know here in newtown after this tragic school shooting. we are life this morning. i'll send things back to you guys. >> i want to bring in richard lui who has been looking into past school shootings in elementary school. richld, the fact that there is a protocol as liz reported that the teachers know they need to sort of take certain steps is a testament to just how violate schools have become. >> my mother is a k through 4 teacher, and at her school they have protocols as well in san francisco, california. you had that list earlier of how
many shootings at schools that happened in the past. i have it here as well, highlighted. unfortunately, there are so many in recent years. if you just take out the elementary schools specifically and you look back in history, it's not too long ago, i'll take you to tacoma, washington, first, february 26, 2010, there at tacoma elementary school a teacher there was shot and killed on school grounds. no children were present at the school when that shooting took place. i'll take you back to a report february 29, 2000, in flint, michigan. there a 6-year-old boy brought a gun to buelle elementary school in mount morris township. he killed his first grade classmate kayla roland. that's in flint, michigan. i'll take you back to 1979. san diego, california. fortunately, there, alex, brenda spentser, at the time, 16, pulled out a .22 caliber rifle from her family's house across the vietnam and said after she had shot some students, i just don't like mondays. this is really a tough and emotional story to watch when we
listen to some of the children what they have to say here, alex. we think of these places as safe havens, and, unfortunately, today it was not. >> nbc's -- nbc -- msnbc's richard lui. chelg -- i don't know what the word is to describe this. horrifying, chilling, a moment of national tragedy. you know, the culture -- we talk about violence. it's not something that is just happening in schools. it's not something that's just happening 234 movie theaters. we were talking during the break about violence that's happening in chicago. these are record numbers of shootings over the past two years. >> it's no doubt, and the words fail us. that's why we can't speak because speech is inarticulate in the face of ooel. this is evil. the trauma that has been rendered has been exacerbated by the fact that some people are highlighted and some people fall into a black hole where they are undiscovered, where no governor comes, where no president responds, where no school official speaks, where there is only hand-ringing and blame.
there is cultural empathy generated around these kind of events, rightfully so, and others bear the culture of stigma. they are blamed for their own duress, blamed for their own stress, they are blamed for their own failure as if a moral culpability on their part has led to the consequence of their being shot or murdered or mugged or attacked or assaulted. that is something, for which we have no words, and, yet, as melissa harris perry said, we want to build this moat and say we want to be -- have a response, a natural response to what appears to be a supernatural reality when we can do the stuff we can do. stop the flow of guns. stop the ready accessibility of guns and, guess what, black and brown communities deal with this trauma on an every day basis, and they have nobody to speak for them and nobody to defend their children, and it's another tragedy that has tobacco knowledged as well. >> we're talking about systemic failure, right? >> across the board. >> systemic failure in our society, and certainly it's not just days like today that we
should be looking at this. this should be a part of the national discussion. we have to leave it there. i want to thank you for hanging with me through this. andrea mitchell will have continuing coverage of the shooting in newtown, connecticut. stay with us. >> and thanks very much. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" a horrifying scene unfolding in connecticut at an elementary school. a shooting at a newtown school leaves multiple dead, including, we believe, the gunman. here's how one child described what happened. connecticut state police are still on the scene after leading children from sandy hook elementary school. witnesses describe the scene saying it was horrific. any moment from now we are expecting a live news conference from the connecticut state police. we'll bring it to you live as soon as it begins. as we continue here live in washington, i'm joined by pete williams and our nbc newsroom. pete, you've been hearing from federal and local officials, state official